Upon finishing my reading of George Carlin’s memoir, I can most definitely state that I had at least two separate trains of thought about what I had just read. During the first read-through in which I was introduced to his life starting from conception I found myself slightly put off from continuing to read it. There was an unnecessary amount of anecdotes and tangents made that could have been shortened, if not removed completely. The words were crass, upfront, and rude. It was not until the second time through where I ignored most of what was putting me against the story that I started to get pulled into the events that unfolded. The author was by no means living a privileged life; conceived in a most unusual of places and given birth in one too. It was not even certain he would have had a life at all, if not for the “ghost” of a relative spooking his mother. His early childhood years was a test of survival; having to withstand the overbearing presence of his mother and the somewhat violent drunken tendencies of his father. As he grew older he had to learn how to step out from his mothers shadow and become a self-made person who did not have anything handed to him on a silver platter.
When trying to find a discourse that applies to Carlin, it is very difficult to place him into only a single category. He is very much the shining example that Gee was looking for in his notes on “Discourses and Literacies”. He is very blunt and to the point; it is obvious from the first page in which he describes his conception that he is not the type to withhold his thoughts and mannerisms. However, as he was surrounded by his mothers love of the classics, he was exposed to a much wider range of discourse. Somehow through a combination of trying to get out of his mothers shadow and his upbringing, Carlin developed his own form of humorous discourse. He openly mocks common conventions of thought and conveys his thoughts and ideas in a refreshing way that easily grabs attention. It veers widely from the path that Mary tried to instill into him as a boy as a well to do boy who would one day join high society to better himself. She herself was stuck on that level of discourse and would never change as she continuously re-conditioned herself almost as if it was her right to live opulently and force her ideas on others. It also is different from the smooth talking of his father who could wow audiences with electrifying speeches that were sure to be memorable.
Overall, the excerpt of Carlin’s memoir is a fascinating read; and is very interesting to look at from a literary viewpoint. If it were not through lessons learned throughout this course many levels of understanding that I have now most likely would never have came to me. His unique discourse is pleasantly refreshing and a wonderful example of how different literacy can truly be.